Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010

Bahrain race postponement rumours grow

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010

The “Gulf News” newspaper reports the Bahrain Grand Prix will be postponed to the end of the 2011 F1 season.

Several protesters have been killed in anti-government demonstrations, leading to doubts over whether the race next month can be held.

Some protesters claim the government is trying to defuse the situation only to ensure the race can go ahead.

The Associated Press quoted protester Hasan Dhani who said: “The race has been the [Crown] Prince’s dream since he was a child.

“He wants to negotiate so he can fulfil this dream, and it makes me sad that his dream is more dear to him than the needs of his people.”

According to the “Gulf News” the decision to postpone the race will be announced soon. They claim the race will be moved “to the end of the season”

Bernie Ecclestone has said that the prince would decide whether the race would go ahead.

According to Autosport the teams will decide on Monday whether the pre-season test at Bahrain can take place.

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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67 comments on “Bahrain race postponement rumours grow”

  1. That’s okay. The race threatened to be on when i was at work. I’ll be out of there the next time it comes around and the fly-aways are over ;-)

    1. LOL, what a difference a few hours make!

  2. Good news. Just cancel the race and lets start in Oz.

    1. I would treat this as a rumour for now.

      If it was postponed, it’s hard to see where it would fit in the calendar without encroaching into the August break or having races on three consecutive races – both of which would be very unpopular with teams – or becoming the last race of the season.

      The latter could be tricky from a contractual point of view – the ‘season finale’ is a prized race and they may not be able to switch it from Brazil (not, as the Gulf News piece says, Abu Dhabi) to another venue. As ever in F1, one suspects money could solve the latter problem.

      1. Let’s not forget that Brazil was originally scheduled as the finale in 2010 only to be forced to swap with Abu Dhabi when the final schedule was published in December.

        1. What a dull ending to the season Bahrain would make.

          1. My thoughts EXACTLY. And we thought Abu Dhabi was bad…

          2. bahrain as a track gets a bad rap, its not that bad, last years race was pretty horendous, but every other year its produced a pretty good race. If I’m correct 2006 still holds the record for the most competitive overtakes ever.

          3. Newnhamlea- really? My main memory of that race was one of drivers being unable to overtake! First Alonso got stuck behind Schumacher, and Schumi got stuck behind Alonso at the end

          4. I may be wrong, It might have been another year, but i definately read somewhere that it had the most overtakes one year.

          5. My memories of Bahrain 2006 was Rosberg (in his first race) being spun at turn 1 on the first lap, then driving from last to 7th, right behind his teammate Webber, Jenson Button outbreaking nearly everyone into turn 1 and Raikkonen driving from last (suspension failure in Quali) to 3rd. I’d say that includes a fair bit of overtaking! :D

          6. Did Massa spinning past Alonso into turn 1 count as a competitive overtake?

          7. Not worse than Abu Dhabi, certainly.

        2. I wish there’s a way they could run in Abu Dhabi instead of Bahrain, and then stick Bahrain in Abu Dhabi’s spot before Brazil…

        3. But that had a lot to do with Abu Dhabi putting up a lot of gold in the CVC hoard.

      2. Keith, one suspects that money is the problem. The contract probably goes something like this

        You provide race track up to standard
        We provide GP at said track

        If you don’t you give us $$$ or euro signs or whatever
        If we don’t hold race then we give you $$$ or euro signs or whatever
        If unable to hold race for circumstances outside of either control then no money is changing hands.

        Bernie doesn’t want to cancel because it will cost him, so by letting Bahrain make the choice then Bernie can’t lose money, only respect from the public.

        An intersting point though…. and one I haven’t seen raised

        20 GP season = LIMIT according to bernie
        2011 has 20 GP’s.
        2012 has 18 (17 from 2011 + new US). There are 3 more that are in 2011 and not 2012. They are

        China – Just signed on again, so that makes it 19 locked in with 1 spot going
        Turkey – talks to be had
        Japan – SUZUKA… alot of anger from drivers, teams and viewers if this goes

        That means that Turkey is to be dropped, and this will be its last contracted race.

        However, if Bahrain pulls out of this one, then their may be a clause stating that the next GP is up in the air, and as such it allows Bernie to keep Turkey and Suzuka.

        Just a theory.

        1. Well apparently 25 is now the limit, which the teams aren’t happy about either.

  3. Let’s hope this is true

    When might they be able to hold the race later in the season? Presumably any time between May and August will be too hot, and after that period I don’t think there are any three week gaps between races.

    So presumably it’d be held on the weekend between races (creating an unprecedented back to back to back triple header), or it’ll be tacked on to the end of the season, after Brazil. That would be shame though, I think we all love Interlagos as the season closer

    1. I don’t think they can make it the last race of the season. That makes it too prestigious an event. They have to allow the maximum amount of time to go by to see how the situation evolves, but not have it be the last race of the season.

      1. And the opening race of a season isnt prestigious

        1. damn there was supposed to be a question mark there!

          1. Yeh but if they lost their shot at that, it’s not FOM’s fault, nor is it the fault of the current season finale (who will have paid handsomely for said privilege).

      1. they say “taking place after the Kuala Lumpur GP and before the final race of the seaon in Abu Dhabi”.

        thats a fairly broad estimate

        1. There are a number of factual problems with that article. Abu Dhabi the last race of the season? Vettel fastest for second day running on Sunday? I think that was Saturday… Webber was in the car on Sunday. Those kinds of incorrect statements (while small and relatively insignificant) make me kind of doubt the whole article.

          1. Isn’t this the source Keith names as well.

            After reading it, I agree with his assessment of this being rumours. As you say US_Peter, a lot of factual nonsense in there.

  4. Well whatever the reason, there obviously is something positive (or less negative) going on in Bahrain:
    Fear in Libya, hope in Bahrain

    and from the same Gulf News:
    Focus on reforms as calm returns in Bahrain

    BTW the Bahrain GP has been held since 2004. What childhood dream does the Crown Prince need to fulfil?

    1. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/opinion/21kristof.html?_r=1

      Shows what Nick Kristof feels about it. I think he is sincere in what he does.

      1. Indeed. I’ve been following him on Twitter.

        Its always difficult to know whats going on as we’re not there, but a two time pullitzer prize winning journalist has to hold some credence doesn’t he.

        Nothing will persuade me that it is anything other than innappropriate to hold the GP this year.

  5. I hope this is the case. Sounds like the best thing for everyone involved.

  6. I know it’d be really hot but what about during that few weeks they usually get off for a summer break?

    1. Nooooo, I always have my annual holiday then so as not to miss any races ! This year, I’m off to Hawaii.

  7. so what would this mean for testing if it was cancelled.. would teams be allowed to go elsewhere..?

    1. I think they have already agreed more time Barcelona as a reserve.

  8. “the dream of the prince, the nightmare of his people”

  9. Looks like the best solution would be to run the race the week after the Abu Dhabi race and then move the race in Rio to one week later ie at December 4.

  10. He wants to negotiate so he can fulfil this dream, and it makes me sad that his dream is more dear to him than the needs of his people.

    Bernie, what have you done?! FOTA and the GPDA need to get involved, they must have serious clout in this issue. Mark Webber as head of the GPDA – with complete agreement of all the members – can force Bernie to see sense and at least postpone the race. And I dont care if it to become the season finale, if by then Bahrain has returned to peace, and the Grand Prix becomes a proper celebration of this. After all that is what a GP is.

  11. I had to post this funny comment from someone who added it to the bottom of this* Independent newspaper article from yesterday:

    Jack McVicker 1 day ago
    “I’m surprised Bernie hasn’t met with the protesters and done a deal of some sort.”

    *http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/ecclestone-keeps-watch-on-violence-2219145.html

  12. i think no one wants to one. but bernie wants them to call it off first, so he can charge them contractual penalties.

    1. no one wants to go. sorry

  13. If only Ecclestone understood why the people over there are protesting…
    Unfortunately it’s all about the big money in the pocket of very few people.

  14. I’ve just been watching the English language version of Al-Jazeera as it’s giving more time to these protests than western channels; and according to them the pre-season test has already been cancelled.

  15. Test. Comment didn’t appear before :S

  16. Yet some journalists are suggesting that it is ‘logistically impossible’ to move Bahrain GP. Provided peace is restored in the country, the ultimate decision (to have 20 races with Bahrain postponed) lies with the teams and their finance departments.

  17. Surely can’t just stick Bahrain on the end of the calender, what an anti climax it would be to the end of the season if the title was decided there…I don’t think Brazil would be too happy with that too.

      1. That’s already linked to in the article above. Also, Abu Dhabi is not the last race of the season.

  18. such a shame, such a shame to see this.

  19. One of the BBC commentators made an extremely good point:

    For those asking. Just because the race goes ahead doesn’t mean the BBC have to be there. We’ll make a call, and I know what mine will be…

    http://twitter.com/jakehumphreyf1/status/39258037009121280

    1. They could do as Speed in the US do and commentate from the studio back home. And have some, er, expendable pit reporter on the scene. @willbuxton of late. This totally lacks the atmosphere and relevance of on-the-scene commentary but it’s presumably cheaper and less taxing on the aging Speed studio crew, perhaps.

      (Kidding about Mr. Buxton being expendable, it was enlightening reading his tweets from the scene of the canceled GP2 Asia race).

      1. I think it’d be more a protest of a MORAL principle. There were a lot of people killed by the Monarchy, so to go and cover a sporting event for the rich and shameless… well that’d be a bit much.

  20. That would be just fine with me

  21. Keith Collantine wrote a very eloquent and considered article about why the Bahrain GP (and testing) should be cancelled. I agree with Keith.

    I’ve looked closely at the media and the #Bahrain and #f1 tags on twitter. It’s shocking, truly shocking.

    In light of how lightly everyone involved in F1 in a direct level has not said anything about this situation (excluding @jakehumphreyf1) I will not be following this season opener if it goes ahead. I will be watching BBC News 24 instead.

    Thinking of all of you in Lybia and Yemen also xxxx

  22. That’s good news,by that time I hope the situation improves & we have a good race. I think hosting the race now will be more dangerous.

  23. Some protesters claim the government is trying to defuse the situation only to ensure the race can go ahead.

    Of course they’re going to say that. When you’re negotiating in a situation like this, the first thing you do is put the other player in a defensive position because the moment you give them an inch, they’ll freely take a mile.

    1. Or they may be saying it because that’s what they believe given what they know about their own government with whom they’ve lived every day of their lives. Between an autocratic government and protesters against it, I know where my benefit of the doubt goes.

      1. Agree Maciek.

        And even if this is part of keeping the pressure on the crown prince to keep talking, why not? Certainly better than promising bombs and fighting.

        Let us hope it works and Bahrain sorts itself out for the whole population.

  24. Cancel the sucker, and give the teams another 4 days of testing, and let the season start at Australia.

  25. political expediency will always trump equality.

  26. My dream start would be at Melborne and end to be at interlargos or abu dabi ( i actually enjoyed that track ). Bahrain last race of season would be hell. even if it came to 5 drivers that could win championship at last race.

  27. they should cancel this race for ever! I don’t understand why F1 (or other motorsport events) should go in this countries and contextually the Bahrain track layout is awful!

  28. despite all the rights and wrongs of going; the UK Foreign Office advice is not to travel to Bahrain, therefore the UK based teams will most probably not get insurance and would open a minefield of “duty of care” for the F1 teams ref their employees.
    I just dont see how they can go with this FCO advice in place, regardless of everything else!!

  29. I won’t be watching if the race goes ahead. I know it won’t achieve anything but I just couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to) enjoy it knowing what’s going on outside the rich, privileged boundaries of the F1 circus.

    I hope it gets cancelled, if nothing else it would probably give a small sense of victory to the protesters.

    My unrealistic and practically impossible replacement for the season opener would be a non-championship race around a circuit that doesn’t hold a race at the moment. As we’re in the realms of the imagination, my pick is the Nordschleife :P

    1. I’ll echo your sentiments Mark. I might agree to watch if the all the drivers wore black arm bands in sympathy for the protesters and there was a few minutes of silence at the end of the race to remember the dead rather than a Champagne celebration.

  30. “He wants to negotiate so he can fulfil this dream, and it makes me sad that his dream is more dear to him than the needs of his people.”

    This isn’t something of little relevance, especially in a Crown Prince.

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